“America Has Split, and It’s Now in ‘Very Dangerous Territory’”

Tom Edsall NYT column:

Why did the national emergency brought about by the Covid pandemic not only fail to unite the country but instead provoke the exact opposite development, further polarization?

I posed this question to Nolan McCarty, a political scientist at Princeton. McCarty emailed me back:

With the benefit of hindsight, Covid seems to be the almost ideal polarizing crisis. It was conducive to creating strong identities and mapping onto existing ones. That these identities corresponded to compliance with public health measures literally increased “riskiness” of intergroup interaction. The financial crisis was also polarizing for similar reasons — it was too easy for different groups to blame each other for the problems.

McCarty went on:

Any depolarizing event would need to be one where the causes are transparently external in a way that makes it hard for social groups to blame each other. It is increasingly hard to see what sort of event has that feature these days.

Polarization has become a force that feeds on itself, gaining strength from the hostility it generates, finding sustenance on both the left and the right. A series of recent analyses reveals the destructive power of polarization across the American political system.

Share this:

“Twitter says it has quit taking action against lies about the 2020 election”

Daniel Dale for CNN:

Twitter quit taking action to try to limit the spread of lies about the 2020 election, the company said on Friday — a day after another social media platform, YouTube, removed a Republican congressman’s campaign ad because it included a 2020 lie.

Twitter spokesperson Elizabeth Busby told CNN on Friday that “since March 2021,” Twitter has not been enforcing its “civic integrity policy” in relation to lies about the 2020 election. That was the policy under which the company had suspended or even banned users for lying about the 2020 election, affixed fact-check warning labels to tweets containing such lies and limited others’ ability to share those inaccurate tweets.The civic integrity policy still exists, Busby said in an email, but it is “no longer” being applied to lies about the 2020 election in particular.

Busby said that’s because the policy is designed to be used “during the duration” of an election or other civic event, and “the 2020 U.S. election is not only certified, but President Biden has been in office for more than a year.”

Lies about the 2020 election, however, have never gone away. In fact, they continue to play a major role in American politics.

Share this:

Breaking: Alabama Seeks Supreme Court Order Blocking Requirement for State to Create Second Black Majority Congressional District, Queueing Up First Major Test of Voting Rights Act in New Decade of Redistricting

You can find the application at this link. The Supreme Court is likely to first grant a brief administrative stay while it decides what to do on the stay application. It would not be surprising to see the Court set the case for full argument if it grants a stay.

It is notable that that two of the three judges on the unanimous three-judge district court panel were appointed by President Trump.

The application leans heavily on computer simulations of redistricting done by plaintiffs’ experts showing that a second Black-majority district would not have been likely to have been created. In essence, the state is arguing that the African-American population is not compact enough to have drawn a second such district, and that the requirement to do so would create constitutional liability as a racial gerrymander.

This is the first redistricting and race case of the new decade to make it to the Supreme Court. The case has the potential, but not the certainty, to signal where the Supreme Court is now on questions of considerations of race in redistricting, and the reach and constitutionality of Section 2 of the VRA as applied to redistricting.

Update: Alabama has filed a second document here seeking cert. before judgment in what appears to be a related case going to the 11th Circuit. I haven’t followed closely enough to understand the relationship between the two cases. (Update to Update: Marc Elias explains.)

Second update: The Supreme Court has asked for responses by Wednesday.

Share this: